AudioUK calls for Government to invest in audio production

Raft of measures demanded includes more money for audio tax relief, funding, and training

Trade association for audio production AudioUk has called for the UK Government to put in place measures that put audio on the same level as other creative media content, at this week’s Westminster Media Forum. 

Managing director at AudioUK Chloe Straw said other forms of creative media – such as TV, film, games and animation – are on a different footing from audio production. One example is the lack of research for audio content, since the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport includes in report data only radio broadcasting as audio, with audio production not represented in the Creative Industries Council which releases statistics and resources for creative industries. 

“As the market continues to grow at a pace that could only have been imagined 10 years ago, the opportunities are there for the taking – but we need to be quick,” Straw said. “The global podcasting market is expected to grow at a rate of 31.1%, to reach $94.88bn by 2028.

“The UK sector is currently one of the most developed in terms of numbers of companies and professionals involved in audio production. But this may only be for a period of time as other countries seek to build their own sectors.”

AudioUK is also calling for the government to invest more finances into audio production, including: an Audio Production Tax Relief, to help improve the UK’s footing as a competitor to overseas investors; AudioUK’s Audiotrain programme, to provide skills and training; and the Audio Content Fund – a re-evaluation of which by the Government is expected to conclude soon – which is designed to support to independent producers. 

“The US audio market has grown exponentially in terms of revenue and audience,” said Straw. “So one economy is producing a lot of podcasts and driving its revenue generation, and therefore it is limiting the international market and wider economic benefits.” 

“A tax relief would allow a rebalancing of at least some of the production market power towards the UK, through incentivising investors to look at this country’s production sector,” she said. “There is already a whole suite of creative industry tax reliefs – film, TV, video games and animation – but again, not audio.”

In October this year, AudioUK also warned of unfair competition over the BBC’s plan to move its public service speech audio into its commercial subsidiary, BBC Studios. The move would allow the BBC’s internal production teams to undertake commercial work for other podcast platforms which places the company in direct competition with independent producers.

Straw also reiterated, as part of her discussion on partnerships, AudioUK’s call for the BBC to be open for full external competition and open commissions for all non-news audio content to external producers.